Winter Vacation in Greece
A winter Wonderland
Greece is so much more than just a summertime destination! Choose Greece for your winter holidays and enjoy the possibilities that open up before you!
Winter in Greece is waiting for you to experience:
Sporting Activities in the Wild
Large areas of woodland with snow-capped peaks, forest trails and old pathways, fast-flowing rivers crowned with stone bridges and striking lakes create the ideal setting for having a truly memorable experience during your winter holidays. The biggest ski resorts in the country are on Parnassos, Kalavryta, Kaimaktsalan, Vasilitsa, Tria-Pente Pigadia, Pelion and Mainalo Mountains and they will offer you unforgettable snowy adventures against an all-white setting.
You will enjoy the natural beauty of the mountainous areas with the numerous cloud –capped peaks and the wide network of signposted trails while you go hiking or mountaineering. If you love mountain biking, or you use a 4WD vehicle, you will discover many off road routes that will lead you deep into the heart of Greek nature.
You can practice water sports in lakes such as Orestiada, Ioanninon, Plastira, Kerkini, Vegoritida, or bird watching or simply go for a romantic stroll, enjoying the view of the snowed landscape reflected in their still waters.
Winter Trips to Greek Picture-Perfect Towns
Seasons may change yet the beauty of some destinations remains undiminished, only to be enhanced in winter! Kastoria, Ioannina, Metsovo and Karpenisi are four towns that serve to prove the above. In Kastoria, one of Macedonia’s gem towns, you will enjoy going on a tour of the lake’s serene surroundings. Wander in the town’s traditional neighbourhoods, see the Byzantine monuments and visit Dispilio (7km SE of Kastoria) a lake settlement of pile dwellings dating back to 5000 BC.
Ioannina, the capital of Epirus region is a beautiful old town with an amazing cultural heritage, imposing monuments and picturesque neighbourhoods. Visit Lake Pamvotida, one of the area’s top sights and the picture-perfect islet of Kyra Frosyni located right in the centre of the lake. You will feel as if transported to the past, to an era of secrets and legends. Metsovo is a traditional town, perched on a mountain slope and built according to the Epirus architectural style. Visit the impressive art and cultural sites, taste the famous local dishes and feel your energy levels rising as you practice sports in the area’s forests and mountains.
Trendy Villages Full of Life
Dotting the Greek countryside, partly covered in clouds or lying under a cloak of pure white snow, these villages are the meeting point for those jet-setters who wish to enjoy their trip to the countryside as well as winter sports in style, and at the same time have lots of fun in night clubs until sunrise. Arachova in Central Greece and Palaios Agios Athanasios, a picture-perfect traditional village in Macedonia, are the most popular destinations at a stone’s throw from ski resorts.
Virgin forests, majestic mountains, impressive caves, deep shaded gorges, wetland habitats of rare beauty and other remarkable ecosystems enhance the loveliness of the Greek countryside. You will see the beauty of Greek nature unfold in the National Parks on Pindus, Parnassos, Vikos, Parnitha, Olympus, Mainalo mountains and in the Forest of Dadia, as well as in habitats such as the ones in Lakes Kerkini, Prespes, Vegoritida and in Nestos River. The choice is yours…
Hidden Mountain Paradises
Wooded recesses lie nestled in mountainous areas, most of them seemingly defying the law of gravity and offering an unobstructed view that can take your breath away. Numerous paths are there for you to explore as the country’s rugged terrain gradually unveils to you the beauty of the Greek highlands and offers many alternatives to thrill-seekers.
There is no match to the mountainous parts of Korinthia and Arcadia in the Peloponnese when it comes to areas of natural beauty that also share a rich history.
If you travel to the mountainous parts of Nafpaktia you will find there are more than 40 villages scattered on the area’s seven mountains, nestled in forested peaks, next to winding trails on a wild terrain. Visit Zagorochoria, a group of 48 traditional, stone-built villages in the centre of Epirus region. You will be captivated by the wonder works of nature and men.
If you choose Mt. Pelion, you will enjoy visiting the villages perched on the mountain slopes, as they are fine examples of the local traditional architecture. You will also find an interesting network of hiking trails under the breathtaking canopy of foliage on the mountain of the mythical Centaurs.
The country is full of treasures related to its culture and bear witness to the ancient Greek past that has offered so much to humanity. There are more than 100 imposing archaeological sites, numerous monuments, and hundreds of museums, where this historic course unfolds - one that has been both continuous and impressive, over a span of 5000 years. Avoid the crowds of tourists that flow here in the summer and visit Greece in the winter! You will be able to take your time while you tour the country that has been named ‘the Cradle of Western Civilisation’.
Greek Culinary Treasures
The Greek mainland is a gastronomic paradise. Try the rich-flavoured meats either charcoal-grilled or flame-cooked or on a skewer, traditional types of pasta, savoury or sweet pies, delicious dairy, nutritious legumes, wines made from local varieties and distilled spirits. Your choice of flavours is a very wide one… You will find that sweet temptations are equally difficult to resist! Taste the best custard-filled bougatsa in Thessaloniki and Serres, try kourabiedes (a shortbread type of confection covered in caster sugar) when you visit Kavala, spoon sweets on Mt. Pelion, ravani (a syrupy confection made with yogurt and semolina) if you travel to Veria, and baked sweet dishes soaked in syrup if you visit Ioannina and Xanthi.
Greece is known across the world for offering countless options when it comes to nightlife. It will be the ideal destination for any of you who choose this way to have a great time, leaving your worries and problems behind. The nights last longer here and being in high spirits is a fine start for having a great time! As expected, Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras, the country’s three biggest cities, are the leaders when it comes to nightlife in Greece. So, if clubbing is what you’re after, you will definitely find the place that best suits you.
Local Traditions and Customs
Undoubtedly, the greatest holiday season in the winter is Christmas time, as numerous local traditions and customs come to the forefront come alive across the country. Decorated Christmas trees and little boats ornament houses and streets. Bells are ringing and children sing Christmas carols in towns and villages. Traditional practices come to the forefront such as ‘Momogeroi’ in many parts of Macedonia and Thrace, ‘Ragoutsaria’ in Kastoria town, a custom connected with ancient festivities in honour of the Greek god Dionysus, and bonfires in Florina town. On New Year’s Day, there are customs for bringing good luck, like hanging a big onion bulb at the front door or breaking a pomegranate at the house’s entrance door. On Theophany Day (the twelfth day of Christmas) running waters are sanctified during the morning mass, when the Cross is thrown by the priest in the waters, while men and women dive in the water and compete in trying to catch it!
During the Greek Halloween period (Apokria), carnival parades take place, the biggest ones in Patras and Xanthi. Watch the customary reproductions of a ‘vlach wedding’ in Thebes, tzamales in Ioannina, gaitanaki in Livadeia, the burning of tzaros in Xanthi, boules in Naoussa, and alevromoutzouromata in Galaxidi.
If you are romantic by nature, take your better half by the hand and follow us:
Take a trip to Nafplio, a beautiful historic town; stroll around the side streets of the old town, up the castle at Palamidi and the much-photographed Bourtzi fortress built on Agioi Theodoroi islet; Visit the fortified town of Monemvasia, walk by the grand stone-built houses, the medieval towers, historic buildings and centuries-old churches; Stop by Galaxidi, the seafarers’ town, and nearby Nafpaktos; these two towns are among the most romantic places in the Greek mainland; Nymfaio village is located near Florina town, a place where you will see well-tended mansions and winding cobble-stone alleys, surrounded by a lush birch tree forest. If a winter resort is what you have in mind, visit Elati and Pertouli, you will enjoy your stay in these two lovely villages that are snow-covered during the cold season. Another option for you would be Papigo, one of the most popular traditional villages in west Zagori area.
Last but not least, the big urban centres: Thessaloniki is Northern Greece’s largest multi-cultured city, with a romantic atmosphere about it; as for the Greek capital, you will find it impossible to resist the allure of Athens’ historic city centre. Choose Greece for your winter holidays and discover the wintertime fascinating aspects of popular destinations.